When he wasn’t hurt, Ryan Braun looked really average in the first half of the season. However, he’s been a key contributor for the Milwaukee Brewers in the second half.
Ryan Braun posted a .235/.283/.427 slash line in the first half, and missed time with back, calf, and hand injuries. He only needed a DL stint for the back issue, but he was clearly not himself early in the season. He has turned it around in the second half, and has been a vital cog in the Milwaukee Brewers offense.
How is Braun performing?
Since the All-Star break, Braun owns a .294/.359/.496 slash line in 36 games. Braun also has five homers, 16 RBIs, and four steals since mid-July. He piled up 10 homers and seven steals in the first half, but he’s been much more effective post-All-Star break.
In August, he slashed .299/.349/.494, and he’s been even better through the first nine days of September. Braun isn’t the force of nature that he was in 2012, but he’s far from ‘done’.
How are the Brewers getting the most out of him?
They really aren’t doing anything all that special. He plays more often than not, but they do mix in days off to keep him fresh. There really isn’t a a significant pattern against lefties or righties, but Braun has been a little better against left-handers this year. He’s faced right-handed pitching 258 times this year, and owns a .257/.293/.415 slash line. He’s slashing .250/.341/.527 against lefties.
Should he split time in left field?
Not really. Eric Thames owns a .162/.215/.338 slash line in the second half, and that makes him sound better than he’s looked. Honestly, there’s a non-zero chance that Thames gets left off the post season roster.
Curtis Granderson could pick up a few starts against righties, and Domingo Santana is available to spell Braun against lefties. However, as long as the Milwaukee Brewers are in the thick of the playoff race, Braun needs to start as often as possible. He may miss a game here or there to keep him fresh, but Braun is in the lineup every day.
Braun has suffered through a few minor ailments, but he seems to be as healthy as ever. A healthy, productive Braun could provide the Milwaukee Brewers with boost they need to secure their first playoff appearance since 2011.